Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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Call to Fire PA TV Head After Anti-Semitic Broadcast (Ynetnews)
Israel Campus Beat
- May 15, 2005
Who is Responsible for Lack of Movement in the Peace Process?
Rejecting Israel's Legitimacy, PA Mourns Creation of Israel - Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook (Palestinian Media Watch)
See also Palestinians Unleash Anti-Israel and Anti-U.S. Messages - Michael Widlanski (IMRA)
Movement Gets a Bit Easier for West Bank Palestinians - Michael Matza (Philadelphia Inquirer)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Newsweek apologized Sunday for an inaccurate report on the treatment of detainees that triggered several days of rioting in Afghanistan and other countries in which at least 15 people died. The report said American interrogators at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had flushed a copy of the Koran down a toilet. Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said investigators found "no credible allegations of willful Koran desecration." (Washington Post)
See also Hamas Protests Alleged U.S. Koran Desecration
Shouting, "protect our holy book," about 1,500 protesters, some carrying the green banners of Hamas, marched through the streets of Jabaliya in northern Gaza in an anti-U.S. protest Friday. Some demonstrators burnt Israeli and U.S. flags. (AP/Jerusalem Post)
A scheme to disarm wanted Palestinian militants is in crisis because hundreds of gunmen are refusing to take up jobs in the security forces - and many who do, Israel claims, are being allowed to keep their weapons. The issue is overshadowing Mahmoud Abbas's plans to visit Washington for talks with President George W. Bush on May 26. The dual inducements of a regular salary and the prospect of no longer being hunted by Israeli forces have not proved sufficiently alluring, with only 110 of more than 1,200 potential bombers and gunmen joining up so far. Not one is from Hamas, the group behind many of the worst attacks against Israel.
"Abbas said they would collect their guns but they are letting them roam around with these weapons, now in the guise of the police. They are giving a stamp of approval to their activities and their weapons. This will not hold for long," said Sharon Feingold, an Israeli army spokesman. (Telegraph-UK)
Hundreds of accounts of suicide bombers are featured on the rapidly proliferating array of web sites run by radical Islamists, at a time when U.S. military officials say that foreign fighters constitute a growing and particularly deadly percentage of the Iraqi insurgency. The largest share in the online lists are from Saudi Arabia and a significant minority from other countries on Iraq's borders, such as Syria and Kuwait. (Washington Post)
See also Four Palestinians Held in Iraqi Terror Bombing
Iraqi security forces have captured four Palestinians and an Iraqi believed to have been responsible for a Baghdad market bombing that killed at least 17 people, a police commander said Friday. 81 people were wounded in the blast, including women and children. (Los Angeles Times)
A Saudi court jailed three prominent academics Sunday for up to nine years for trying to sow dissent and challenge the royal family, dealing a blow to tentative overhauls in the absolute monarchy. The court sentenced Ali al-Dumaini to nine years in jail, Abdullah al-Hamed to seven years, and Matruk al-Faleh to six years. All three were arrested in March 2004 after petitioning the kingdom's rulers to move toward a constitutional monarchy and to speed political changes. The judges cited Faleh's criticism of Saudi Arabia's educational system, which he blamed for two years of violence by al-Qaeda supporters. Dumaini had ''incited [people] against the Wahhabi school" of Islam in Saudi Arabia, which critics contend is fostering anti-Western sentiment and militancy. (Reuters/Boston Globe)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Israel has approved the deployment of hundreds of armed PA police in all West Bank cities to crack down on crime. Uniformed personnel are authorized to carry assault rifles in all cities except Hebron, where they will be limited to small arms. In Tulkarm, which is under Palestinian security control, some 5-10 men out of a list of 50 wanted men reportedly turned in their weapons. "There are no scenes of piles of weapons brought in by wanted men, but rather the acceptance of the wanted men, with their weapons, into the Palestinian police," a Palestinian source said.
Israel has warned the PA that it will not tolerate the use of the weapons against its forces. "We have no illusions that [the Palestinian police] will prevent terror," an IDF source said. "Therefore, we are continuing to operate in the cities as necessary. But an armed presence brings back some law and order, and deters some of the armed gangs, and that is also important." (Ha'aretz)
Israel Defense Forces planes, gunships, and tanks destroyed Hizballah posts in Lebanon Friday in response to Hizballah shelling of IDF positions. While Israel assumed small Palestinian groups were behind two previous incidents, Hizballah took responsibility for the third attack from Lebanon within less than 48 hours. (Ha'aretz)
Four Israeli workers were lightly wounded on the Philadelphi route along the Gaza-Egyptian border after Palestinians fired an antitank rocket at them. (Jerusalem Post)
Israel views any attempt to develop a Kassam rocket in the West Bank as a "ticking bomb" and will take the necessary military action to thwart it without first asking the PA to act, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told the cabinet Sunday. Mofaz said that today in Gaza there were Kassam rockets with a range of 7 to 8 kilometers and that he could not guarantee that there were not longer range rockets there as well. He said the PA was not taking action against the Palestinian terrorist organizations and that Hamas was gaining both political and military strength and was emerging as a "second" Palestinian Authority, putting together a "people's army" under the nose of the PA.
Mofaz said that Israel is taking Hizballah head Sheikh Nasrallah's threats to kidnap Israeli soldiers very seriously, and that there are concrete warnings regarding this possibility. (Jerusalem Post)
Mofaz told the cabinet there have been more than 400 violations of the cease-fire, mainly by Islamic Jihad and Hamas. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Among the Palestinians, particularly Hamas activists, the argument goes that the armed struggle was the decisive factor in Prime Minister Sharon's decision to evacuate Gaza. From the Palestinian point of view, seemingly, the strategy of violence pays. A comprehensive study by Brig.-Gen. (res.) Meir Elran, of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, looked for evidence of the view that behind Sharon's plan was a weakening of the Israeli public's resolve. Elran found that the highest levels in the percent of Israelis who were convinced they wanted to live in the country came at the height of the terror wave, in mid-2002. During the toughest part of the intifada, most of the public - an average of 73.5% - believed Israel was capable and will be capable in the future of dealing with the difficulties it faces.
Most of the Jewish public generally accepted the main message of the government that "there's nobody to talk to" and "there should be no negotiations under fire." The lessons that the Palestinians must learn from the study is that the heroes of the withdrawal from Gaza are not the suicide bombers, and that additional attacks will not yield further withdrawals, but will only stiffen the Israeli public's positions. (Ha'aretz)
The British boycott of two Israeli universities is self-defeating and even incoherent. Bar-Ilan University gives credit to students taking courses at the College of Judea and Samaria, which is located in the West Bank town of Ariel. The College of Judea and Samaria is hardly the "apartheid" institution alleged by the British; there are actually several hundred Israeli Arabs enrolled as students there - a reality more complex than the boycotters realize. So it is with Haifa University, which has a 20% Arab student body and the most Palestinian students of any Israeli university. The writer is Emanuel Ringelblum Professor of Jewish History at UC Davis. (San Francisco Chronicle)
The Gamble of a Lifetime - Romesh Ratnesar and Matt Rees (TIME)
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